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#TBT: For Kingpins Founder Andrew Olah, Denim Was a Symbol of the Anti-Establishment

Throwback photos stir up laughs, memories and—for denim heads—a wealth of vintage denim inspiration. This weekly column on Rivet asks individuals in the denim industry to take a look back and reminisce about a denim moment in time captured on film.

This week, Olah Inc. CEO and Kingpins founder Andrew Olah looks back at a photo of cut-off jeans that, at the time, represented so much more: rebellion. He joined Olah Inc. in 1976 after graduating college and started Kingpins, the first jeans supply chain show, in 2004. This week, denim heads gathered at Kingpins Amsterdam to learn from other denim experts and rebels alike for its annual conference.

Andrew Olah, founder, Olah Inc.

When I was a kid, I just wanted to look like the people who I admired on TV—the bad guys; musicians; cowboys; Vietnam protesters; Black Panthers. I wanted to look like those people. And my parents and all their friends and schoolteachers didn’t look like that. So, there was this definite divide in society: You were on one team or the other team.

I think anyone from my generation—Adriano Goldschmied or Piero Turk or any of those people who have been in the jeans business a long time—will tell you the same story. Jeans were a very clear way for you to physically demonstrate that you were not part of the establishment at that time—and that you didn’t really want to be.